The Case for the $100 Turkey

Bruce MacQueen

Last Thanksgiving, the average American family spent $22 for a 16-pound turkey. That’s less than $1.40 a pound. Yet slow food and small farm advocates argue it’s time we start paying more, closer to $10 a pound–or $100-$150 a turkey–if we want to address the many problems associated with factory farmed poultry.

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Russia’s Locavore Experiment, a ‘Natural’ Settlement, and ‘Sustainable’ Beef

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We’re pretty sure you’re all as busy as we are, but take a break and get caught up here with this week’s food news.

1. 250,000 Farmworkers Protected from Deportation by Obama’s Executive Order (Politics of the Plate)

“The United States became a more food secure nation last night after President Obama issued an order that would prevent deportation of up to five million immigrant workers—including at least 250,000 who are toil in the fields to feed us,” writes Barry Estabrook on his site, where he includes United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez’s comments from a press release: “The President’s action will allow at least 250,000 of America’s current professional farm workers who feed our nation to apply for temporary legal status and work permits. Farm workers who have lived in the United States for five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents, pass a criminal background check, pay all of their taxes, and pay a fee will be able to work and live in the United States without fear of deportation.” We agree with Barry that it’s fitting that Obama issued his order the day before the national release of Food Chains, which we review today. Read More

‘Food Chains’ Documentary Sheds Light on Farmworkers’ Reality

Farmworkers in Florida picking tomatoes are paid by the bucket photo courtesy FOOD CHAINS

A few years ago, Sanjay Rawal was driving past a farm in Immokalee, Florida and he saw a group of migrant farmworkers toiling away in the fields. Later that evening, he drove by the same field to find the same group still hard at work. Meanwhile, the farm managers were eating at a separate facility nearby. “The segregation of these two communities shocked me. Almost next door to one another were these two eating facilities–one for whites one for ‘coloreds’. The ‘coloreds’ in this case weren’t African Americans, but farmworkers. It could’ve been 1911, not 2011.” Read More

5 Food Policy Lessons the U.S. Could Learn from Latin America

María Eugenia Vidal, current Deputy Mayor of Buenos Aires and  City Cabinet Chief Horacio Rodríguez Larreta show off a A fruit vending machine. Photo courtesy of the City of Buenos Aires.

When it comes to nutrition and public health, the U.S. can learn a lot from Latin America. Over the past year, Mexico, Brazil, and several other countries in South and Central America have passed some very progressive policies, often placing public health interests above those of the food industry. This is particularly impressive given the expensive politicking the food industry has engaged in in Latin America against public health policies. Here are five recent efforts we should all be watching: Read More

SF Restaurant Yank Sing Workers Earn Historic $4 Million Settlement

T photography / Shutterstock.com

While the nation’s underpaid fast food workers have been making themselves and their demands very visible in recent years, a group of cooks and food servers in one of San Francisco’s most prominent Chinese restaurants have also been quietly charting a course to a better work environment.

Today, a group of employees at Yank Sing joins the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) and several Bay Area legal groups to announce a historic $4 million dollar settlement and workplace agreement with the restaurant’s owners. Yes, you read that right: $4 million. According to the State Labor Commissioner’s office, this is the largest monetary wage settlement they have helped secure from a restaurant of this size.

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If Grown Right, Wheat Might Help Fight Climate Change

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Conventional farming usually gets a bad climate rap. That’s because, in one way or another, food production accounts for up to a third of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Some seep directly from agricultural soils, but others stem from transportation, farm machinery, and the substantial carbon footprints of synthetic fertilizers and other inputs. These indirect emissions add to the environmental impacts of staple crops like corn and wheat, oft-vilified grains that feed much of the world’s population.

But a new paper, published today in the journal Nature Communications, offers a slice of good news. The study found that a combination of a few basic farming practices boosted wheat production and put heaps of carbon back into the soil–more than enough to compensate for the GHGs emitted in the process of growing it. Read More

Toss Those Take-Out Menus: New Study Says Cooking Makes us Healthier

Phoot by Yasu Hirotao

There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to suggest that cooking at home is better for our health. It’s also well known that eating convenience food is associated with poorer nutrition, obesity, and other metabolic diseases. Food experts, ranging from NYU professor Marion Nestle to author Michael Pollan and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman, have long argued that homemade meals belong at the center of a healthy diet. Read More